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If only had known how good I will feel...

Nursejulee's picture

For all of you that struggle with the disengagement process, listen to these amazing people. I didn’t want to hear some of it but I’m so glad I did. And I haven’t had to even say a word to my two sd because I don’t message them and they don’t message me. I blocked them from social media.  I had an honest conversation with my husband of 18 years and said “I will encourage you to have a relationship with your kids but don’t encourage me”. They are not allowed in my house and hubby knows that. If they show up, my husband is very welcome to go elsewhere with them. This has not been easy but don’t be a fool like I had been for 18 years. I did everything I could to make them love me and instead I only got heartbreak. I wanted a family and instead I got the feeling of an outsider. I will tell you it’s not easy but stand your ground. Life is too short. I told my husband this and then it hit me...if I mean this then why I’m trying. I had told him a year ago if anything ever happened to him, I would want nothing to do with them. And I meant it. So, why would I now? Don’t let anyone make you feel like crap and disrespect you. Love your life in peace. For those that have helped me along the way, hugs your way. Take care all! 

Kes's picture

Good advice Julee -from a fellow disengaged SM - I have been disengaged for over 16 yrs now and have never regretted it.  Disengagement is not all roses, there are hard aspects to it as well.  You sometimes feel lonely when your DH is out doing stuff with their offspring.  But I have/had no desire to take part in outings and trips where it was obvious my SDs didn't want me there.  I'd rather be doing my own thing. 

shamds's picture

Thats why when hubby on those rare occasions is out with his 3 kids from ex, i just remember that we have our own vacations away and holidays overseas that are skid free because me and my kids don’t want them there. 

Rags's picture

Good for you.   And ya know what.  It is going to drive them nuts.  That is the second best part after them no longer driving you nuts.



2Tired4Drama's picture

Lack of acceptance.

Humans are fundamentally hard-wired to be "accepted" into a clan.  Being ostracized is one of the most psychologically damaging things that can happen to a person.  This has been proven in many scientific studies.  Imagine spending a whole day in a room with 10 strangers and not one of them will look at your or acknowledge your existence - which is what some of the studies did.  Even if one person in the group stepped up and tried to be friendly, the others would yank them back into line so they could continue with the wholesale ostracization. At the end, the ostracized person identified being stressed, hurt, anxious, angry, etc.   That was after an 8-hour experiment.  

Now imagine having it happen for YEARS at a time!   Not to mention that the person who professes to love and honor you (spouse/significant other) will often let themselves be yanked back in line by adult offspring, rather than come to your defense. 

What makes it doubly-difficult is our spouse/significant other is part of that clan, yet is often treated as the mongrel, low-rung member by his own offspring - which we observe. While he may try to make overtures for the group to include us, when that fails he is more than willing to grovel and even be snapped at to remain included in that clan.  All we can do is stand outside and ignore it, lest we rush in and get ripped to bits ourselves.  

We do not need to be desperate for acceptance, like our spouses are.  We can disengage.  We know we will find acceptance in our own clans where we are welcome.  In order to survive, we have to keep ourselves psychologically safe.  We can't allow ourselves to be in situations where we know we will be ostracized.    

That's still not to say that it is easy.  I find the imbalance the hardest part.  My SO is welcome in all aspects of my clan (family, friends) yet I am not welcome in his.  I must admit I am jealous and hurt when I hear of others who have better relationships with adult skids because I know that will never happen for me.  For example, my SO has a female coworker who is a "stepmother" and she is a regular visitor to SD's home in another state whenever the dad visits. She comes back to the office and tells my SO stories about what they did, what's going on in her SD's life, etc.  She was also welcomed up during the SD's pregnancy and subsequent birth of her child.  I wonder if any of that even sinks in to my SO - and does he make any comparisons to how his daughter has treated me?

To be honest, there have been times I've subtly kept my SO out of the loop on some of my family issues, simply our of resentment.  It's not right, but I feel a bit vindicated.   I figure it helps tip the scales a bit, for me anyway. 

Life is not always balanced nor is it fair.  And that goes both ways.  



sandye21's picture

This touches so many cords with me.  You described the typical situation so well!  Why would we want to place ourselves into a possiton to get shredded?  And why would our DHs / SOs be OK with it?  After reading your post I now know there was justification in my resentment towards DH for not stepping up to be the husband he should have been.

2Tired4Drama's picture

As you can tell, I've mulled this over in my mind throughout my steplife years.  I started seeing many parallels in fundamental human behaviors, and how they are a problem.  Like mother-child love/bond.  (Eg. Even a neglectful, bad BM will trump a loving, caring SM in a kid's eyes.)  



Stepkidsfromhell's picture

Your  last sentence is 110% correct! I feel for all the SMs out there doing their best supporting their SKs for years when BM manipulates them and cause them so much emotional trauma. At the end of the day it means shit, the kids will always side with the BM and turn on a dime against the SM 

Rags's picture

While highly probable.... not necessarily.   

If there is commonality between SDads and SMs in this situation my SS-27 and I are an exception.  He rejected the toxicity of his BioDad and the SpermClan and asked me to adopt him when was 22.  I  raised him as my own starting from before his mom and I married the week before he turned 2yo and his mom and I raised him to be a viable adult and a man of character.  

Key to success if keeping structure in place regarding behavioral and performance standards for the Skids and keeping them increasingly informed of the comprehensive facts of their situation in an age appropriate manner. 

There should be no secrets when it comes to toxic bullshit from the blended family opposition.

It worked for us.

Nursejulee's picture

I have to admit...I feel’s almost like a rage which is not like me at all. I’m hurt. I’m trying so hard to understand why my husband would still want to talk to them but I just keep telling myself to be the kinder person and karma always comes through. But yes, it’s very hurtful. 

MissTexas's picture

courteous and considerate? Especially with regard to their father's marital choice and partner?

I have read story after story, and so many are so similar, it's scary.

DH and I had a conversation again about, "In the future, how can we fix this?" Simple: Be a parent,  not a husband to your daughter. Create boundaries. If she elects not to abide by them, then write her off.She's already written him off, but it's selective. When she decides she wants daddy, she's back in without so much as an explanation for her behavior. It's the emotional yo-yo effect. I'm not playing that game anymore.

Lollybobs's picture

2Tired4Drama...your post explains this lack of acceptnce perfectly. Thank you

Curious Georgetta's picture

to them because he loves them.

You are his wife and he loves you. They are his children and he loves them.

Probably, he would be happier if you all got along better, but his capacity and willingness to a love  each of you is not tied to the way that  you and his children interact.

He has successfully compartmentalized his life and you will be happier when you are able to do the same.

You and his daughters have disengaged. You do not contact them. That do not contact you  That is an aspect of a mutual disengagement.


sandye21's picture

"Probably, he would be happier if you all got along better"  I'm sure the OP has heard this before from people who have no idea what she has gone through.  'Love' has a different meaning to everyone.  In my opinion, if DH loved his children enough he would try his best to instill kindness and respect.

MissTexas's picture

showing disrespect is not only immature,  it is a common trait of narcissism. Never tolerate those who are disrespectul. Never tolerate disrespect, period. When we do, we are teaching the offender how to treat us, and that it is acceptable. As a friend pointed out, silence is affirmation, whether it's in this case, or in DH's case with his genetic garbage.

Movingonisbest's picture

Maybe that's what hee husband has done but he has not truly loved her. When they got married they became one. Disrespect of her is disrespect toward him. He's a huge part of the problem and I am sure his children and grandchildren know he is weak.If they knowew they would lose their father by disrespecting his wife they would get their act together.

CANYOUHELP's picture

I agree, there is peace is staying away from the pointed family drama. I did not understand what was happening at the time but I am so happy I do now, finally.

I know I would never allow my child (or anybody else for that matter); to treat my spouse with utter disrespect with the goal of complete exclusion.  I guess that is why I can never understand this kind of "love."  But, it clearly does exist and I have accepted it.

The thought of ever being around them again makes me sick. I would rather be in a rattle snack pit.

MissTexas's picture

"see it." This is two fold: 1) DH would have to admit there's a problem, and to do that would mean change is needed. People never change what they refuse to confront. (2) The SK's little game would have to come to an end if DH openly admitted there was a problem, and that would be an admission of guilt on DH's part, that he was somehow broken and failed as a father.

Movingonisbest's picture

MissTexas, I agree with your statements. My ex definitely tried to lie about his daughter's piss poor behavior I guess so he could pretend there was no problem, hence no need to fix. I disconnected the call and haven't responded to him since . If a woman leaves you over an issue and won't see or respond to you for several weeks, that was notice you have gotten the boot. But to try to come back and liie about the same issue reaffirms to the woman she made the right decision to leave you/give you the boot..

irishtwins1617's picture

I am not quite at the stage of disengaging from adult step children - but I have a couple questions because I really have a feeling it will happen in the future -

What happens at functions with your bio children?  I feel I would want to do things with my children at any age, but not sure how involved or not involved they will be with their half siblings (at this point they have little interest and are far apart in age, so I am not sure how the future will even play out with them being "close" or not, and sometimes I hope they aren't close - because my step kids and I aren't close; I know that makes me sound horrible but we all have real, raw emotions sometimes!)

 For example, if your adult bio children had a party at their house (holiday, birthday, whatever) and invited you, of course, but also invited their half or step siblings, did you still attend? 

For those who have both adult steps and bios, how close are they? 



sandye21's picture

How does your DH handle skids vs. bios?  Does he present you to the skids as a unified couple and expect them to respect you?  This sets the stage for blended family gatherings.  If your DH does not support you as he should this could lead to 'misunderstandings' and unjustified disrespect on the skids part.  I probably wouldn't be on this site if my DH had valued me enough to insist SD respect me as his wife.

You mentioned that you and your skids are not close but you are still engaged with them.  There must be a reason - and in most cases is not the SM who is being horrible..  Would you give a little more info about your relationship with the skids.

irishtwins1617's picture

Yes for the most part he does present us as unified, although he does also have shadowings where that is not the case...but for the most part, yes. 

My children are only 1 and 2, and his are just entering their pre-teen stages.  So, when I mentioned that I'm not quite to the disengaging with adult step children phase, I mean I'm really not quite there!  Smile

But I am still curious, because I do feel it may come to that one day, and learning from other peoples' experiences sometimes helps me validate my feelings even now about certain things. 

My relationship is one where I am here, I live my own life with my own two children, and when my SKs do come around, they stay in their room the whole time.  My life is so enveloped with the needs of two toddlers (one with special needs), and theirs is so enveloped with sports and friends that we don't see each other a lot (although they do stay here every other night- crazy right?  They don't get home until late). 

But, it's very hard for us to mesh or find common ground.  We don't have any volatility in our house, but I wouldn't say everyone is a "loving happy family" either.  It feels like they do "their time" here that is dictated by the schedule, and then they go back to their other house. 

sandye21's picture

"-- it's very hard for us to mesh or find common ground.  We don't have any volatility in our house, but I wouldn't say everyone is a "loving happy family" either.  It feels like they do "their time" here that is dictated by the schedule, and then they go back to their other house."  This is typical for skids.  If they aren't too obnoxious, leave you alone and your DH demonstrates that you are a unified couple, you are lucky.

Just a suggestion but I would have boundaries in place just in case - such as they have to clean up after themselves and at least be cordial to you and your children while they are in your home.  If they ever get disrespectful they stay away for a while.  Don't be an ATM for them.  Enjoy your time with your kids, let them stay in their rooms.  When they become adults you probably won't see them often - a blessing.


Lollybobs's picture

'I probably wouldn't be on this site if my DH had valued me enough to insist SD respect me as his wife.'


Merry's picture

I made it clear to my DD that any relationship with DH's kids was up to her. They could be friends, or they could ignore each other.

DD and SS are friendly. DD tried to be friends with SD, she really did. Until SD blew up at DD's wedding because DD wasn't doing something the way SD thought she should. I never did hear the details on that one. (DH had the good sense to be mightily upset with her and told her so.) So they are cordial if there is a family event, but really there's hardly ever a reason that all of our kids are together.

Whomever is hosting the event invites whomever they want to. None of us are at the point where we won't be in the same room together, so I don't really worry about it.

Loki's picture

I disengaged about a year ago. Usual stuff......DH thought the issues with his children were my fault.  When if fact, the fault lay with DH who actually created this situation.  He didn’t confront his children’s behaviour, preferring instead to direct his ‘admonishments’ at me, then when I’d had enough, he held onto resentment instead of acknowledging his part in the problem and actually doing something about it. 

By disenging and letting go of wanting to rescue DH from his own choices, he's now beginning to realise that his kids been raised on pedestals and are weaponised by the BM. They've never been confronted or corrected, so they don't know how to cope with being called out on their poor behaviour. They don't have the tools to fix their messes and that's their parents fault not mine. 

IMHO there is a hierarchy in any given household and the married adults need to be united at the top of that hierarchy. When one partner is always pushed out of the way or expected to be put second to the kids, that is ruined. By disengaing and refusing to be second best to the skids I finally feel the natural order has been restored.